By Peter Barnes
A few days before the election, Barack Obama told Time’s Joe Klein:
Finding the new driver of our economy is going to be critical. There’s no better driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy … That’s going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office.
That’s exactly the right choice for numerous economic, geopolitical, and ecological reasons. By spawning “a new energy economy,” Obama can create millions of new jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and avert catastrophic climate change. But the politics of launching that new energy economy — even with enlarged majorities in Congress — remains challenging.
In facing this challenge, Obama will be constrained both by a gargantuan budget deficit and his campaign vow not to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000 a year. And because of the recession, he can’t suck buying power out of the economy. On the contrary, he needs to stimulate spending by consumers.